Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monday Motivation: Garage Organization - It's All In The Details

While browsing Pinterest for creative storage ideas, I found some interesting ideas for storing items in the garage. 
This system works well and uses storage containers that are readily available at most department stores and/or hardware stores.   I've used something similar in my craft studio for years and it's served me well.  Just make sure you have all of your items purged and categorized before you buy containers so you won't buy the wrong size.

Source: None via Andrea on Pinterest

I thought this was a great idea for the workshop area.  It reminds me of how stores display their merchandise.  You'd just need to make sure that the boards folded far enough out of the way to not block the work surface.

I love this idea for boots - in fact, I'm getting ready to do something similar on my back porch for our muck boots.

Source: None via Jo on Pinterest

This is great to hang right inside your garage door to make car washing go quicker.  You could also use a metal or plastic mail box.

Source: None via Coel on Pinterest

Bungee cords, wood strips, and large nails are all that is needed to put this organizing system together.  I love the bungee cords for holding the balls together. 

Source: None via Crystal on Pinterest

If you're not on Pinterest and you'd like an invitation, just email me and I'll send you one.  Pinterest is a fun (and free) site that allows you to "pin" your favorite pictures from the web onto your own virtual "pinboard".  I have to admit that I'm a bit addicted.  I used to tear dozens of pictures out of magazines and store them in binders and file folders.  Now I just pin them on my Pinterest boards.  Love it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our New Marine

Hubs and I traveled down to Parris Island, South Carolina last week.

We went to enjoy the Marine Corps Graduation.

We started out at 6:30 AM waiting for our new Marine to run by with his platoon.  It was hard to spot him in a group of young men who all look alike.

We enjoyed a glimpse of Ryan before Family day on the base. 

The next morning was very stirring with the raising of the colors while the Marine Corps band played the Star Spangled Banner. 

The entire audience was moved to tears as two jets flew over right as the flag reached the top of the flag pole.  It was picture of freedom.

A replica of the statuary of Iwo Jima was a popular spot for picture taking.

The graduation ceremony was impressive.  All of those young men (the young women graduate on a different weekend), had worked extremely hard for 13 weeks to reach their goal.

Ryan is the first one in the third row behind the Drill Instructors.

We're so proud of him!

As soon as we got off of the base, he couldn't wait to put in his contact lenses and take off the "port hole" glasses they issued him.   Jeans and a T-shirt were also a welcome gift from home.  The picnic basket on the back seat of the car was emptied pretty quickly during the 8 hour ride home - that boy can eat!

Our daughter, Ashley, blogged about our family on her blog O Happy Daze.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Making A Lamp For My Craft Studio

I was the happy recipient of Hub's grandmother's sewing box when she passed away.  She had been a dressmaker in New York City and before that, in Germany.  Oma's sewing supplies included silk thread, wooden spools of thread, buttons, ribbon, lace, and lots of odds and ends - she was very frugal and saved everything!

A lot of the thread she had saved was too fragile to use in real sewing projects, but I was really interested in keeping the thread.  It is beautiful and every spool is wooden - something you don't see any more.

I've been looking for a way to showcase the thread and I finally discovered the solution:

It all started with a bottle lamp I found at the thrift store for $3.00.  I liked the shape and size of the bottle, and the electrical cord and socket was in great shape. 

The hardest part of the project was cleaning out the inside of the bottle.  First, I removed the socket and cord.  Then I filled the bottle a quarter of the way up with warm, soapy water and about 1/4 cup of coarse salt.  I put a dishcloth over the bottle opening and, holding tight, shook the bottle to death.

 After about 3 or 4 minutes of shaking (I considered this my arm work-out for the day) I dumped out the sudsy soap and began to rinse it with hot water until it was nice and clean.  I waited a few hours for it to dry (the hot water allowed it to dry quickly) and then filled it with the small spools I had been saving.   I used a shade from another lamp I had in storage and tah-dah. . . a new lamp!

I love looking at the beautiful colors of thread and wondering what Oma made with them. I hope she would be pleased that they mean so much to me.  I'm enjoying my new lamp on the desk in my craft studio.  Maybe it will inspire me to get crackin' on making more goodies for my Etsy shop. 

Have you used a sentimental collection to decorate your space?  Please share about it in the comments.

I'm linking to:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Motivation: Garage Storage Solutions

Almost every client I work with wants help with organizing their garage. After purging all unnecessary items, I help them sort the keepers and find a home for every item. Here are some of my favorite organizing solutions to help control clutter in the garage.

These easy to install tool racks are great for getting tools and accessories off of the floor and within easy reach.  After all, you (or your teenager) are more likely to use it if you can reach it. 

DIY Life project traditional

More vertical storage ahead. . .  These metal storage shelves are sturdy and adjustable. Notice how the heavier items are stored on the bottom shelves.

Marielle kitchen

This garage utilizes cabinets, rolling carts, shoe racks, peg boards, vertical hanging hooks, shelves, and a finished floor.  It's a great use of space.


There is no rule that says you can only put closet organizers into a closet. They'll work perfectly well in a garage too!  Generally, you'll have to put it into a corner so that the shelf brackets have something to attach to. 

Maillardville Manor-Mudroom modern entry

These posts are great for boats and surfboards as well as other bulky or ridged items

Boardshed modern exterior

Click these links if you need to :
     Prepare to organize your garage
     Purging and organizing your garage - the dirty work.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Motivation: Getting Your Garage Organized (doing the dirty work)

Several readers have emailed me to let me know that they are getting ready to do a major garage cleaning/organizing this month.  It's the perfect time to do it because the weather is neither too hot or too cold. 

To get started, don't forget to read the first post about organizing your garage.

Now we're ready to get our hands dirty:

1.  Set out your garbage and recycling containers so they are handy. I always recommend using opaque containers (either cans or dark bags) for trash.   Once it goes into the bag - it's gone.  No looking back or having second thoughts.  Also set aside some empty boxes or bags for donations, items to return to someone, and items that need to be moved to somewhere else.

2.  Decide what categories you will want to have in your garage. 
     ~ tools
     ~ yard/gardening
     ~ toys
     ~ sporting goods
     ~ auto repair
     ~ projects
     ~ holiday decor
     ~ home improvement
     ~ camping/coolers
     ~ car storage (isn't that what garages were originally designed for anyway?)

3.  Set aside an area for each category in your yard, driveway, or other level surface.  This will be your staging area.

4.  Here comes the fun part.  Take a deep breath and start at one side of the garage.  Pick up an item and make a decision about it.  Do you :
     ~keep it?
     ~trash it or recycle it?
     ~donate it?
     ~move it somewhere else?
     ~return it to someone?
Put that item in the appropriate area, bag, or box.

5.  Continue moving around the garage, picking up one or two items at a time and follow step 4 for each item.  Warning:  When you do this, people might stop by,  thinking you are having a yard sale.  I actually made $50.00 one time while cleaning out our garage. 

6.  When everything has been removed  you can make any repairs or improvements to your walls and floors.  If you decide to paint/treat the floor you'll need to wait for the recommended time before walking on the floor.  When we painted our floor, we did half at a time, using the other half to store all of our stuff.

7.  Now it's time to set up your storage solutions.  Put up any shelves, racks, work benches or other storage options that you'll need for your stuff.  Refer to your plan from post #1 to see where everything will be stored.

8.  With all of your storage set in place, your garage is now ready to be "restocked".   Working with one category at a time, place your things in the appropriate area.  Store the most used items at eye level.  Items that are not used frequently should be placed at the higher and lower levels.  Be sure to keep and dangerous things locked away where children cannot reach them.  Also, store heavier items on lower shelves.

It's best to store most of your items up off of the floor.  This way you can sweep out your garage with a leaf blower in less than 3 minutes.   I highly recommend this.

9.  When everything is put away you can take care of your other piles.  Trash in the trash can  Items to be recycled can go to their destination.  Donations packed up and  ready for pick-up or drop-off.  Items that belong somewhere else can be put where they belong.  Items that need to be returned to someone else can be placed in your car (if small enough) to be delivered this week.

Now that your garage is cleaned out and organized you can stand back and congratulate yourself.  You can now straighten up your garage quickly because everything has a place to belong.  Also, you'll be able to find what you need quickly because it has a "home".

Note:   I recommend pizza for dinner because you will be too tired to cook.  I also don't recommend that you tell your friends and family that you cleaned out your garage because they will want to store their junk in your newly spacious area.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Enjoying A Bit Of Harvest Decor

I've been eager to start decorating for Fall out here at Brown Wren Acres.  I decorate for the harvest season and it lasts until I decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. 

I added a few bales of hay, a pumpkin, two bunches of corn stalks, and a potted mum to make the driveway island a bit festive.   I always keep the wheelbarrow there and right now it holds a birdhouse, a pot of impatiens, and a terra cotta pot tipped onto it's side. 

I added pumpkins (foam - not real) to the top of my urns that were already planted with sweet potato vine.  I used foam pumpkins because real ones would be too heavy for the pots and would crush the vines. 

I think I'll replace the really fake looking stems with real wood to make them look more life-like. 

As you come up on the porch to the front door, you're greeted by our wreath, a dried gourd, and an autumn basket filled with pine cones. 

The bench to the left has a green cushion topped off with brown pillows with colorful leaves on them.  The next tour will take you down to the other side of the porch that you can only peek at right now. 

How are you decorating your home for the harvest season? 

I'm linking to:


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wrensday: The Goats vs. The Fence

These two fellas are up to no good. 

 It seems that Gus and Bubba's main goal in life is to break out of their fence.  Hence, the mangled layers of fencing. 

 We've been adding additional layers of fencing every time someone breaks through.  We've now decided to take down all of the old stuff and add new stuff - strong stuff - extra strong stuff. 

The funny thing is that whenever they break out, they never go anywhere.  They just stand outside of the gate with an uneasy look on their faces, as if to say . . "we're not sure what happened, but somehow we ended up on this side of the fence. . . ".

Gotta love the little guys.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday Motivation: Getting Your Garage Under Control

How many of you are afraid to open your garage door?

How many of you are parking your car outside of your garage because there's too much stuff stored in there?

I've only met two people in my whole life who had neat and tidy garages - and I'm not one of them. 

I can clean up our garage fairly quickly, but it never stays perfectly organized and tidy all of the time.  That's just how life rolls.

If you're interested in working on your garage this month, here's the plan:
1st week - Planning and Preparing
2nd week - Doing the Dirty Work
3rd week - Storage Solutions
4th week - Maintenance

So let get started. . .

1.  Make a plan - decided on what you will use the garage for.  Will you need to park your vehicle in it?  Will you need space for sporting or yard equipment?  Do you need storage for kid's toys or holiday decorations?  Will you want to have a workshop area or crafting area?

2.  Draw a simple room layout on paper, marking windows, doors, and any other unmovable structures.  List measurements in feet and inches.  Pencil in where you would like to have storage areas.  After you purge out unwanted items you may be surprised how little storage you really need.

3.  Decide if you will need to make any repairs or changes during the organizing process.  This is a good time to paint the walls, clean the floor and put a finish on it, repair holes in the walls, or replace broken windows or doors.

4.  Plan for the purge.  Decide how you will discard unwanted items or garbage.  Will you need to call for a bulky item trash pickup?  Will you need to arrange for a charity to pick up donations?  Decide on what day (or days) you will work on the project and who will be available to help. 

5.  Plan for storage needs.  Decide if you'll need to build or purchase shelves, work surfaces, or cabinets.  We'll be looking at storage solutions on week #3. 

So are you ready?  Don't worry, I'll hold your hand.  Next week, show up here on Monday with your grubby clothes on and get ready to do some dirty work.

P.S. I do realize that I am posting Monday Motivation on Tuesday.  As I said earlier, this is how life if rolling right now and I'm just rolling with it.  Maybe I should wear a helmet!?